The University of Michigan Launched 22 Startups In Fiscal Year 2019

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 17, 2019
  • The University of Michigan announced it launched 22 startups in the fiscal year 2019. These are the details about the startups.

The University of Michigan has broken a record in its quest to advance entrepreneurial activity and commercialize research for the fiscal year 2019. U-M Tech Transfer reported 22 startups were launched at the university as it surpassed last year’s record of 21. And the University of Michigan also revealed that it spun off 86 companies in the past five years.

Over the last fiscal year, the university signed a record 232 license and option agreements with companies that were seeking to commercialize the University of Michigan research, which is up from 218 in the fiscal year 2018. Plus U-M Tech Transfer also reported that 198 U.S. patents were issued in 2019 for inventions created at the University of Michigan, up from 183 last year.

Another milestone that was announced was U-M invention disclosures surpassing 500 for the first time as it reached 502 for 2019, beating the 2018 record of 484. And over the past five years, the University of Michigan researchers reported 2,280 inventions.

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“This record for invention disclosures shows that our faculty have a strong desire to see their research have a positive impact in the world, and that they find value in the infrastructure that the university has created to support these efforts,” said Kelly Boatright Sexton, Associate Vice President for Research – Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships at the University of Michigan.

Sexton pointed out that the startups launched in 2019 range across a wide array of sectors such as computer hardware, software, IoT, therapeutics, medical devices, healthcare technology, materials science, and its first FinTech startup called Equarius Risk Analytics, which was founded by Peter Adriaens (Director for the Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance at the University of Michigan College of Engineering) and Greg Peterson (Vice President at LimnoTech).

“It’s a diverse portfolio of startups that reflects the breadth of excellence within U-M’s research enterprise,” added Sexton. “These startups also help to augment, anchor and in some cases create new industries here in southeast Michigan.”

Several of the 2019 startups operate in and around Ann Arbor. Three of the startups — CubeWorks, Greenmark Biomedical and Mekanistic Therapeutics — are based in Tech Transfer’s Venture Accelerator, which provides lab and office space in the North Campus Research Complex with the addition of connections with the University of Michigan’s mentor-in-residence program.

For the fiscal year 2019, U-M Tech Transfer brought in licensing revenues totaling $16.3 million — much of which are invested in university research and innovation. This is an increase of 38% compared to 2018. And for the fiscal year 2019, U-M startups raised over $505 million in venture and angel investment and raised an additional $138 million from the public markets thus totaling $643 million.

“By translating ideas, discoveries and technologies from the lab to the marketplace, the University of Michigan plays a critical role in addressing the emerging challenges we face in today’s society, while also driving economic growth,” explained Rebecca Cunningham, the interim vice president for research at the University of Michigan.

Some of the notable startups for 2019 include Voxel51 and DGD Pharmaceuticals. Voxel51 built a video understanding platform that analyzes and extracts actionable insights and the company raised $2 million in seed funding from eLab Ventures. And DGD Pharmaceuticals is developing a therapeutic targeting particular mutations associated with several cancers.

These companies will be showcased at Celebrate Invention, an annual event that highlights entrepreneurship and inventions from U-M researchers. This event is taking place on October 22 at the Michigan League. And the 2019 Distinguished University Innovator Award will be presented to the University of Michigan electrical engineering and computer science professors David Blaauw and Dennis Sylvester.

Featured Image Credit: The Regents of the University of Michigan